82. Wild Strawberries (1957)
directed by Ingmar Bergman
What would happen if Ingmar Bergman made a road-movie? Well, we’re in luck, he did, and it fits quite nicely with the road-movie structure, but… different. This is one of Bergman’s most accessible (and best) films. It follows Victor Sjostrom as Dr. Isak Borg, driving to a University to be honored for his life’s work. During the trip, he is confronted, as so many of Bergman’s characters are, with the choices they’ve made during the course of their life. Bergman’s favorite themes are here: broken families, arguments over the existence of God, the way the past shapes us, the question of what defines us. They ebb and flow from one another, swirling around in the mind of Dr. Borg. Sjostrom’s performance is one of the best of all time, in his ability to visually show us a man reflecting. There is so much information in the way he smiles and when he smiles, as he presents a man trying to decide if he has become someone he always wanted to be (and if not, what then?). This is some of Bergman’s best writing, incorporating dreams and flashbacks as well as the crisp intellectual debates, with emotional undertones, at which he excelled. This is a great, affecting character study, from one of the best filmmakers of all time.